New Walker School Principal: All Kids Want 'Opportunity to be Successful'
Christine Cagney will take the reins at the Clarendon Hills elementary school after spending the last two years as an assistant principal in Palatine.
Christine Cagney says it’ll be her mission to make sure Walker School students are happy when they go to school every day.
“I think that every child wants to be valued and wants to have an opportunity to be successful,” the new Walker principal said.
Cagney, who on July 23 replaced Kevin Russell after his promotion to director of curriculum, assessment and instruction, comes to District 181 after spending the last two years as an assistant principal in Community Consolidated School District 15 in Palatine. She also worked as a special education teacher in Woodridge School District 68 for four years.
The Walker job will be Cagney’s first as a principal. She said she’s enjoyed being a “student” in her capacity as an assistant principal in the past and is excited to put her professional learning to the test in a high-performing district and school community.
“Obviously, I knew [Walker’s] history of excellent performance,” said Cagney, who has family friends in District 181. “What excited me was that I knew how committed [the community is] to getting the best possible environment for their kids to grow and learn in a community.”
Cagney said her staff, as well as the outgoing Russell, has made this summer's transition as easy as it could be, and she can tell just by walking around the building and watching her teachers set up their classrooms that she has a special group.
“They care about kids and they take a lot of pride in their students and what their students do,” Cagney said.
The new principal said she’s studying up on the Fish Philosophy that Russell has put in place at Walker. That philosophy is made up of four components: make someone’s day, choose your attitude, be there and be present, and play.
“I think that fits really well into how school should be,” Cagney said of the Fish Philosophy.
Cagney lives in the Western Suburbs and is a mother of four. She says she brings Mom to school each day and that helps her put the kids first.
“Helping kids to have opportunities to have success, and see and know success,” she said when describing her approach to education. “I think kids want to learn and are excited for it.”